Wednesday, March 18, 2015

RuStitch Rocks San Jose

Strange as it may sound, you enter my tiny Durham apartment through my bedroom. The first thing you see is my bed, with its deep red quilt, and a giant framed print of the RuStitch grid hanging above it.

RuStitch Grid, by 35 artists. Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2013.

So it felt oddly intimate to find the same image I see every day on the homepage of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

It's there because Aubrey Longley-Cook's RuStitch x stitch/video art collaboration is now showing at at the museum as part of the exhibition "Common Thread."

I'm thrilled that my piece, Frame 11, is part of the exhibition. Woot!



Here are the details:

March 7, 2015 – July 5, 2015
A Common Thread, Guest Curated by Susan O’Malley

So if you're in San Jose before the 4th of July, go say hi to Ru. In the meantime, watch this awesome video of the finished project.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Can you say penultimate?

No time to celebrate, but my crazy, epic x stitch project has turned the final corner!


Spanish Eyes. WIP 3/13/15.

Last night I finished the penultimate section of Spanish Eyes. One more 50 x 50 stitch section to go!

Stitch code for the final section!

I have no idea what I was thinking when I started this self portrait of my eyes. Why did I design it so huge? (It's 6 x 14.5 inches, or 15.25 x 36.8 cm.) Because I'm insane, I guess. 

Stitching until my fingers are bloody and raw. Ha!

Ok, back to work.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Turn your head, Mami

This is my beautiful, complicated mother Min, at around 30-years-old.

Redwork Mami, 2015. Hand embroidery on cotton.

Mi mami, mi mami. ("Mi mami," because my mother's family is from Puerto Rico.)

Chain stitch detail of her thick, black hair.

I look at this image, based on a photo taken by my Irish-American father, and I'm back in the position of my five-year-old self. The longing I always felt for my mother. The desperate wish that she would turn her head and look at me. Smile at me.

For my parents.

Turn your head, mami. Please.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vulnerable & confident... with a needle in my hand

You are who you are.

Detail from Redwork Mami, 2015.


I am who I am.

Rinsing. Still stitching.


Confident and still very vulnerable. As an artist, a woman.

Still so many stitches in the Spanish Eyes.

Right now I'm working on a redwork version of my beautiful, complicated mami. And I'm trying to finish Spanish Eyes, which is a piece where my eyes look so much like my mami's.

Flowers.
It is so hard. But I keep moving that needle. Even when I'm sad.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Everything is there, under the thread

I painted this background watercolor of a cold, dark, rainy day. The kind of day that usually wears me down... the grayness of the external world bleeding into me, oppressing me.

Silver & Lead, 2015. Watercolor, graphite and
pearl cotton hand embroidery.


But not that day. I felt passionate and alive. Yellow and red. I could see the bitterness of the atmosphere around me, but it did not touch me.

I wondered at my alchemical good luck. I searched for signs. But I'm a rational person, not prone to believing in mysterious forces. So I found none.

Detail from Silver & Lead, 2015.


But still, I penciled in a few alchemical symbols on the piece, for silver and lead. Fortune and hard work.

8 x 10 inches.

The symbols are there, under the thread. Everything is there, under the thread.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bascom Hogue Considers my Riff


I’m immensely fortunate to have some amazing artists and writers as online friends. The indomitable Kansas-based artist Bascom Hogue is the spiritual king of my Stitch-U-Verse.

String Box 5, 2015. Distressed watercolor, graphite and pearl cotton
hand embroidery.

Bascom was incredibly generous to write me about these String Boxes. He compared them to a hook or riff, which really resonates with me. So I’m going to borrow his words for this post about my latest String Box.

Detail from String Box 5, 2015.

First he defined the riff. "A musical idea, often a short riff, passage or phrase, either melodic or rhythmic, that is used to make a song appealing, to catch the ear of the listener."

String Box 3, 2014.

Then he explained their power. “And the thing about hooks is that they have an almost neurological effect. They do something to you. They get to you. They push your buttons in a way that's hard to withstand."

String Box 2, 2014. (For Andy)

And he lamented their absence of the riff from the discussion of art making. “It's a pity that useful words like "hook" and "riff" don't find their way more into the discussion of art, because there's some art they can help us to understand.”

WIP: Slightly different spin. Silver and Lead.

Finally Bascom related the concept to my String Boxes. “Take that definition of hook and change ‘musical’ to ‘pictorial.’ It could be a description of the String Box. This work is all hook, it's designed as a simple, strong visual catch; one riff, writ very large. And damnation, it's good.”


Detail from String Box 5, 2015.

Thank you so much, Bascom. I'm beyond grateful for the attention you paid to my work and the incredibly articulate way you described it.

Read a fantastic interview with Bascom on Donkeywolf. And check out Bascom's stunning work!